Properly Punctuated: Ampersand

Posted December 9, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Formatting Tips, Grammar Explanations, Properly Punctuated, Self-Editing, Writing

Technically, an ampersand represents the word and, but since it is a symbol, I’m tucking it into the Properly Punctuated, so don’t jump down my throat, lol.

That said, I do love the beautiful forms which an ampersand can take. The shapes sometimes make up for those minor, niggly whines of mine about improper usage. I must confess that I was guilty of improperly using ampersands for the longest time, and now, like a reformed smoker, I pounce every time I see it used incorrectly.

Properly Punctuated is…

…the proper use of quotation marks, commas, semicolons, colons, ellipsis, etc., including how to properly mark dialog, ahem. As Properly Punctuated is in no way complete, I would appreciate suggestions and comments from anyone…

If you’d like to track it, bookmark this page — and consider sharing this Properly Punctuated tidbit with friends by tweeting it.

Ampersand, &
Credit to: Burckmyer, 143
Punctuation: &
Definition: Technically considered a logogram, the ampersand is more commonly referred to as a symbol, and it stands for the conjunction, and. In common use in the 18th century, today it’s confined to company names, departments, and titles. The ampersand is also used in character codes in HTML and acronyms.
Rule: Don’t use it within text.
YES NO
Joe and I were running late for our appointment.

Joe & I were running late for our appointment.
Rule: Used in company names, departments, and titles.
H&M
Kerbisher & Malt
AT&T
Abercombie & Fitch
Black & Decker
Rule: Used as part of an abbreviation for common phrases and acronyms.
B&B bed and breakfast
P&L profit and loss
R&B rhythm and blues
R&D research and development
Rule: Used in character coding on the Internet to “tell” the computer this is code.

See the post about the “Diacritic“.

  = non-breaking space (a blank space; the Internet only allows a single breaking space, so if you want extra empty character space between letters, etc., you need a non-breaking space)

& = ampersand, &
¢ = ¢
© = ©
é = é

History of the Symbol
It originated as a ligature of the letters et, which is Latin for and.

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